D. Ch. Perdikis
- Use of Plant Resources by an Omnivorous Predator and the Consequences for Effective Predation
- Biological Control
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Plant-provided food may enhance survival and establishment of omnivorous predators on target crops but on the other hand they may adversely affect predation rates and thus their potential for biological control of target pests. However, it is not known how predation is affected by plant food quality and prey density. The omnivorous predator Macrolophus pygmaeus is commonly used in augmentative releases in greenhouse crops. Experiments have shown its ability to utilize plant resources; eggplant and pepper plant leaves are the most and least suitable, respectively. In this study we searched the effects of floral resources (pollen or flower) of eggplant or pepper plant on the predation rate of M. pygmaeus. We used experiments in dishes (leaves) and cages (plants) under a range of densities of its prey, the aphid Myzuspersicae. We did not find evidence that the consumption rates and the type of the functional responses of M. pygmaeus were affected by the plant leaf (eggplant vs pepper plant) or the increase in the spatial scale (leaf vs plant). However, the presence of pollen or a flower of eggplant and to a lesser extent of pepper plant reduced the plateau of the functional response to aphid density and increased the handling time per prey. The extent of prey feeding replacement by flower resources was dependent on the interaction between plant species and prey density. It seems that there is a constant rate of prey consumption replacement at intermediate and high prey densities on eggplant but only at intermediate prey densities on pepper plant. These results indicate the interactions between plant and prey resources in diets of omnivores and may be useful for its efficacy in pest control on eggplant and pepper plant.
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